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For Immediate Release
August 13, 2003
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
scaine@oag.state.md.us

CURRAN ANNOUNCES PLAN TO PAY $12.8 MILLION TO MARYLAND HOUSEHOLD BORROWERS

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that notices are being sent to approximately 16,000 Maryland mortgage holders notifying them of their eligibility to share in the State's $12.8 million settlement with Household International. Consumers who obtained a mortgage loan directly from Household from January 1999 through September 2002 will be sent a form to claim a payment that will range from $100 to $12,000, depending on the specifics of their loan and the number of consumers who participate in the settlement.

"We were pleased to negotiate a strong settlement with Household that not only changes its lending practices but also includes restitution for Maryland consumers," Curran said.

The consumer payment program stems from the landmark settlement, finalized in December 2002, between Household International and the attorneys general and banking regulators of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Household International, through its subsidiaries Household and Beneficial Finance, is one of the nation's largest sub-prime mortgage lenders. The settlement resolved an investigation by the states into allegations of unfair and deceptive mortgage lending practices by Household. The states alleged that Household had overcharged borrowers with fees and interest, and had misled borrowers about other loan terms such as prepayment penalties and credit insurance.

Under the settlement, Household agreed to implement a series of reforms in its lending operations. Court injunctions in place in all 50 states restrict prepayment penalties on current and future home loans, prohibit loan "flipping," limit up-front points and origination fees, and improve loan disclosures.

Household also agreed to pay $484 million dollars to the states to be distributed to eligible Household borrowers. The monetary settlement was the largest ever obtained by state attorney generals in a consumer protection case.

Mortgage loans covered under the Maryland settlement include those originated by Household's retail branches from January 1, 1999 through September 30, 2002 that have one or more of the following characteristics: a loan-to-value ratio greater than 100 percent; more than three points charged; a prepayment penalty; participation in Household's E-Z Pay program, a refinancing of the loan by Household within one year of the original Household loan; and life, disability, and/or real estate insurance. The amount consumers will receive as restitution will be determined by the practices that took place in their loans and by how many Maryland consumers decide to participate in the settlement.

All Household customers who are eligible to receive a settlement payment should receive a mail notice from the settlement administrator within the next week. Consumers who wish to participate in the settlement will have to complete and return a simple claim and release form. The actual settlement payments will then be paid directly to the consumers by check before the end of the year.

Household mortgage loan customers who have questions about the settlement payment procedures can call (toll-free)1-888-780-2156 or visit the settlement administrator's website at www.household-beneficial-settlement.com.

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